• Leith Marshall

Aussievision team: Leith



Name and where you live


I'm Leith and I live in Melbourne, Victoria with my Boston Terrier, Bruce. I've lived here for 12 years, but grew up in beautiful Hobart, Tasmania.


Tell us a little bit more about yourself


I'm a public servant, working as a content writer and media adviser, but previously worked in television news, as a producer and online journalist.


I love film, television and music more than is probably healthy. I worked at Virgin Records and JB HiFi through university which helped broaden my music taste from Scandi pop bangers to pop bangers from other surrounding European countries. I'm only half joking.


I knew Mike and Dale through Twitter for years before being introduced by a mutual friend at a weekly pub trivia night, which was pop-culture heavy. Between the content and Dale's competitive nature we dominated most weeks, and I quickly became friends with Mike, Dale and fellow Aussievision contributor Steve.


What is your Eurovision journey?


I've given up on convincing anyone I was ever cool, so try and act surprised that back in 1994 at the tender age of 10 I became ABBA-obsessed. Australia was going through a revival due to 'Muriel's Wedding' and 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert' and the TV networks aired ABBA documentaries to capitalise on their re-entry to the ARIA charts. Long story short, I kept hearing about their rise to worldwide fame through Eurovision and decided I needed to check it out. When I watched the 1995 Contest with Mum on SBS I was horrified to find out ABBA wouldn't be performing, as they'd broken up a decade earlier and countries tended to send a different artist each year. I immediately lost interest because I clearly wasn't a bright child, and a concert with subtitles was a bridge too far apparently.


Flash forward to 2010, I had just moved to Melbourne and was trying to save money while looking for a job in my new city, so entertainment was limited to reading books and watching TV. Twitter was also fairly new and wasn't littered with faceless profiles screaming abuse at strangers yet, and a bunch of people I followed were adding witty remarks to the Eurovision semi-finals. I flicked on the TV and between the online chatter and Aussie commentary from Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang I was hooked.


Paula Seling and Ovi performed 'Playing With Fire' in semi-final 2 and I became OBSESSED with the rhyming lyrics, the performers themselves, the pyrotechnics and the backing singers who had apparently been lobotomised before the show.



I started watching with my friends Nick and Bill each year, but meeting Mike, Dale and Steven pushed me to start watching all three shows live at 5am instead of waiting for the evening replay. Now in a few weeks I'll be going with them to Turin for my first ever Eurovision Song Contest!


Do you have any affinity with nations other than Australia?


I appreciate anyone who puts out an up-tempo pop song I can dance to but I tend to gravitate to Sweden. For the past few years I have excitedly tuned in live to their National Final 'Melodifestivalen' despite not being a morning person in the slightest. I'm not brave enough to tune in to any of the others, I've heard too many horror stories from other Aussievision contributors.


Any Aussievision highlights?


I'm a new arrival to the team, my current role is subediting posts by other wonderful volunteers, but I'd like to do more in the future. It's been so wonderful reading the posts I've edited because I can feel the excitement the authors have for the artists and the Contest itself leaping off the screen.


Quick questions on Eurovision entries


Best winner:


Given my essay at the start I have to say 'Waterloo' (Sweden 1974) but more recently 'Heroes' (Sweden 2015) and 'Rise Like a Phoenix' (Austria 2014) are in equal second place.


Favourite three non-Australian entries:


'Playing with Fire' (Romania 2010), 'What's the Pressure' (Belgium 2016) and 'Fuego' (Cyprus 2018).


Favourite Australian entry:


Copying Dale here but I agree 100% - Live: 'Sound of Silence', Studio: 'We Got Love', Staging: 'Zero Gravity'.


Favourites from the last century:


'Waterloo' (Sweden 1974), 'I'm Never Giving Up' (United Kingdom 1983), 'Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son' (Luxembourg 1965).



Robberies:


Dami is the queen of robbed queens, but I'm also still filthy that 'Fuego' (Cyprus 2018) lost to a song that has already disappeared from most fans' consciousness.


Makes you dance:


It truly doesn't take much, but if 'Love Kills' (Belgium 2013) comes on then I try to replicate the chorie. 'La La Love' (Cyprus 2012) for "drunk Anne Hathaway at a wedding reception" realness, 'What's the Pressure' (Belgium 2016) for "Shirley Temple tries an illegal substance" imagery, and 'Fuego' (Cyprus 2018) for "you'll never look as good as this so stop trying".


Guilty pleasure:


There's no such thing... until you see some of the Melfest non-qualifiers I have on heavy rotation. But if I had to pick one, 'Rockefeller Street' (Estonia 2011) has a special place in my heart despite the nonsense lyrics. Party Cinderellas are here, indeed.




Favourite non-qualifier:


'X My Heart' (Azerbaijan 2018) is a beauty and I was genuinely shocked Aisel and her MDF plinths didn't qualify for the Final. I'm sure there are others but that one still sticks in my mind.


Favourite Eurovision year:


This is tough but I'll go with 2018 for the fact it was the first year I felt like a real Eurovision fanatic, listening to all the Aussievision podcast episodes, contributing to some episodes, reading all the articles and following developments for the months before the Contest. Now it feels normal but 2018 was the first time I truly embraced it.


Favourite national finals:


It's a warped view because outside of 'Australia Decides' I only watch 'Melodifestivalen' in full, but everything about it is so slick, and there's something for everyone. From a TV production point of view, it's SO top notch and yet they make it look effortless. You only have to see some of the other National Finals to see it's not easy to pull off and the Melfest team are the best of the best.


Favourite national final songs:


'Who We Are' (Norway 2018) should hang in the Louvre. The first time the Aussievision boys showed me this performance I went all high-pitched and started screaming "HOW DID THIS NOT WIN?!" because I'm nothing if not measured and rational.



But I've got a pile of Melfest songs that I listen to almost daily when I'm out walking Bruce. I hope Steps sent Jenny Silver a cheque in the mail for 'Something In Your Eyes' (Sweden 2011).


Respect to Alcazar for trying to represent their country so many times; 'Stay The Night' (Sweden 2009) and 'Blame It On The Disco' (Sweden 2014) are sometimes the only thing that can get me out of bed in the morning.


I also would've loved 'Behöver inte dig idag' (Sweden 2021) to have represented our Scandi mates last year because Clara was pure magic and unlike their usual offerings.



Any final comments?


I've said more than enough to incriminate myself. But I love Eurovision so much and the way it brings a global audience of music lovers together to appreciate everything we have in common while respecting what makes us different. I also love how it's introduced me to some wonderful people who I consider my nearest and dearest.